In a move that should surprise nobody at all, the Royals announced that they have a deal in place with outfielder Jeff Francoeur for 2011 with a mutual option for 2012. Francoeur will make $2.5 million in 2011 and has the possibility of another $500,000 in bonuses. The 2012 option would pay $3 million.
The Royals have been after a right-handed bat with some power all offseason and Francoeur fits that bill. Dayton Moore’s been after him for a while after seeing him when they were both in the Braves organization where Francoeur had a solid rookie year and two strong seasons after, but fell off in 2008 and was traded to the Mets. He finished last season with the Rangers.
Francoeur is notoriously impatient, as he’s drawn 168 walks from opposing pitchers over nearly 3400 plate appearances. He’s more of a platoon option as a right fielder, as he does have success against left-handed pitching, but his lack of plate discipline drags his OBP to almost Betancourt-ian levels. In his career, Francoeur has reached base in 31% of his appearances. That means he’s made an out in 69% of the others.
A one year deal with an option isn’t too bad and the salary is less than what I thought it would be. Francoeur made $5 million in 2010. The Royals aren’t on the hook for much, and who knows, maybe Francoeur recaptures the ability that put him in the running for Rookie of the Year in 2005 and led to a 29 homer season in 2006. The deal isn’t too different from the same contract the Royals signed Scott Podsednik to last offseason and he performed well enough to be traded to the Dodgers for Luke May and Elisaul Pimentel in July.